Monday, May 22, 2017

Oconee County Commission Chair Tells Citizens That Park Needs Compete With Other County Demands

Roads Mentioned

Oconee County Board of Commissioners Chairman John Daniell last week had a simple message for the Advisory Committee on Recreational Affairs and representatives of the citizen Stakeholders Committee that is updating the county’s Comprehensive Plan.

Daniell said the proposed Fiscal Year 2018 Budget contains only one new full-time position, and that will go to the Parks and Recreation Department.

Daniell said that the proposed Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax budget for Fiscal Year 2018 includes $2 million for completion of multi-use fields at Oconee Veterans Park.

That is on top of the $.8 million in SPLOST money budgeted to pay against the debt for purchase of the land for and construction of Oconee Veterans Park.

But there is a limit to what the county can do, Daniell said, and when the county spends nearly as much on Parks and Recreation from its General Fund Budget as it spends on roads in the county, it raises questions.

Agenda Items

Daniell’s made his comments at the end of the Citizens Advisory Committee on Recreational Affairs last Tuesday at the Community Center in Oconee Veterans Park.

Daniell waited until after Parks and Recreation Director John Gentry discussed the Fiscal Year 2018 Budget request and after Becky Moore and Pat Sebring from the Stakeholders Committee gave their report on discussions with that group about parks and green space.

Gentry, Moore and Sebring reported that a subcommittee of the Stakeholders Committee is calling for more park space, for increased staffing for the Parks and Recreation Department, for a natatorium, and for funding for a master plan.

Before that discussion, Lisa Davol, Parks and Recreation deputy director, reminded the group of the Memorial Day program on May 29 at the Oconee County Veterans Memorial located at the front of Oconee Veterans Park.

The event, which begins at 5 p.m., includes antique equipment displays, various Veteran organizational information tents, and an ice cream vendor.

The guest speaker for the ceremony, which begins at 7 p.m., is Vietnam War Veteran Donna Rowe, who will discuss her experience as the 3rd Field Hospital Head Emergency Room triage nurse in Saigon.

Daniell’s Comments

This was the first meeting of the Recreational Affairs Committee Daniell has attended since he took over as chairman in January.

Daniell told those present that, if the county waited until it had the SPLOST funds in hand before authorizing completion of the multi-purpose fields, as is normal procedure, it would be another three to four years.

“Everybody is agreement to forward fund that project,” Daniell said, given the case Gentry had made of the need, “and that is not an easy task, because we are very young in that collection, and it’s going to take some real maneuvering to make that cash flow work.”

Daniell told the group that the current Fiscal Year budget includes $2.6 million for Parks and Recreation and $2.7 million for Public Works.

“They’re running neck and neck,” Daniell said. “So Parks and Rec is a high priority, financially as well as the facilities that you see.”

Daniell noted that “Every time the budget year comes around, I kind of look at that number. We’ve got roads that are really falling apart, probably some in your subdivisions, and before we surpass what we spend on roads with parks and rec, we’ve got to have a real good look at what’s happening.

“So that’s why there are a lot of questions back and forth and push back here and there,” Daniell said. “It’s a matter of being financially responsible.”

Horton Spoke Too

Commissioner Chuck Horton also attended the meeting and spoke in support of Daniell.

“If we had $40 million for roads,” Horton said. “We’d need $40 million again.”

At the meeting of the Board of Commissioners on May 11, Finance Director Wes Geddings presented the proposed Fiscal Year 2018 Budget, which will be before the BOC for consideration tomorrow night.

That budget recommends $2.86 million for Parks and Recreation and $2.85 million for Public Works.

The actual approved 2017 had included $2.67 million for Parks and Recreation and $2.81 million for Public Works, according to the figures Geddings released at that May 11 meeting.


The video below is of the complete meeting of the Recreational Affairs Committee.

Chairman Daniell started his comments at 1:02:05 in the video.

Commissioner Horton followed Daniell.

OCO: Recreational Affairs Committee 5 16 17 from Lee Becker on Vimeo.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Oconee County Citizen Committee For Comprehensive Plan Accepts Parks And Recreation And Land Use Subcommittee Reports

Land Use Only A Start

The Stakeholders Committee working on a revision of the Oconee County Comprehensive Plan gave preliminary approval last week to the preliminary reports of two of its subcommittees, one on Parks and Recreation and the other on Land Use.

The Parks and Recreation Subcommittee report noted that Subcommittee members said there was a need for more parks in the county, for more multi-use fields at parks for sports such as lacrosse and soccer, and for passive parks with walking trails and green space separated from organized sporting activity.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Oconee County Fiscal Year 2018 Budget To Be Presented To Public On Tuesday

One New Full-Time Employee

Oconee County Finance Director Wes Geddings has presented the Board of Commissioners a $26.9 million General Fund budget for Fiscal Year 2018, which will be before the public for review on Tuesday.

Geddings told the commissioners he has not yet made his final revenue projections but he is “confident we have the revenue stream to support the expenditure request” without increasing the county’s millage rate.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Oconee County Planning Commission Recommends Special Use For Noncompliant Landscaping Business

Lacks Business License

Twelve-year-old Jack Senyitko gave a flawless presentation to the Oconee County Planning Commission on Monday night, arguing, on behalf of his family, against a special use request to operate a landscaping business on the northwest corner of New High Shoals Road and Union Church Road.

The young Senyitko’s comments won the praise of Planning Commission Chairman Dan Arnold, but not his vote.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Oconee County Planning Commission Once Again Scheduled To Review Plans For Residential Subdivision East Of Butler’s Crossing

Now Zoned For Retirement Community

A request by Stonebridge Partners LLC to rezone approximately 40 acres just east of Butler’s Crossing for a 35-lot single-family residential subdivision is back on the agenda of the Oconee County Planning Commission for tomorrow (Monday) night.

The request was on the Planning Commission agenda in November, December and February, and each time the applicant pulled the request from consideration at the last minute without explanation.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Oconee County Legislative Delegation Focused On Health Care In Talk About 2017 General Assembly Session

Waiting On Washington

Health care issues in the state dominated a briefing on the 2017 legislative session that Oconee County’s delegation to the Georgia General Assembly gave to county Republicans late last month.

Much of that briefing centered on the need for the state to provide adequate health care outside the major metropolitan areas and particularly outside Atlanta.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Oconee County Industrial Development Authority Goes Into Executive Session Again For Unspecified Real Estate Matters

No Action Taken

The Oconee County Industrial Development Authority went into executive session Monday to discuss real estate matters, less than two months after the Authority learned that its latest attempt to sell part of its Gateway Technology Business Park had fallen through.

The session lasted 40 minutes, and the Authority took no action when it came back into open meeting.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Stakeholders Subcommittee For Oconee County Comprehensive Plan Creates List of Parks And Greenspace Wants

Land Use Meeting Too

Oconee County needs more park space.

As a result, it should identify land now for future expansion of its parks.

The county should include a natatorium with swimming and diving facilities in one of the new parks it builds.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Oconee County Commissioners Approve Pinelake Campground Expansion After Increasing Buffer On Adams Road

Number Of Sites Reduced

The Oconee County Board of Commissioners last (Tuesday) night imposed changes on the proposed plans of Pinelake Campground LLC to expand its existing campground west of Bishop before giving approval to the project.

Residents along Adams Road objected to the addition of a recreational vehicle park on undeveloped property on High Shoals Road to the east of the existing Pinelake Campground, saying it would adversely affect their privacy, subject them to unwanted smoke, and be unsightly.

Monday, May 01, 2017

Oconee County Commissioners To Consider Expansion Plans For Campground Outside Bishop

Also Solicitation Ordinance

Oconee County commissioners tomorrow (Tuesday) night will consider a rezone request for expansion of Pinelake Campground west of Bishop as part of a lighter-than-usual agenda.

Most of the important items under consideration, in fact, already have been given tentative approval and are on the consent agenda, meaning they will be voted on en masse unless a commissioner asks for discussion.